In Memory of Mohawk
Mom here. Today, The Furry Bambinos said I could post about Mohawk, one of the kitties who came before them.
Mohawk’s Gotcha Day was Friday, January 11, 1991, exactly 17 years ago today. This is the story of how Mohawk came into our lives …
Mohawk in 1991
Back in the middle of 1990, my friend Lynn had been encouraging me to adopt a cat. Lynn and I worked at the library together while I was in college, as well as the summer after I graduated. I kept telling Lynn how much I wanted to have a kitty in my life, but until I got a regular job after college, I did not want to adopt. I wanted to be sure that I could support myself and the kitty.
Lynn, Dorothy, and Art from the library
I got a temp job through an agency for a few months, then in late November 1990, I started My First Real Job After College.
One of Lynn’s adult kids had a cat who gave birth to a litter of kittens in late summer. Lynn had received one of the kittens from her son, for her birthday in October.
By early January, Lynn had called me to “come visit” her at her house. She wanted me to meet her latest family member, a little kitten named “Mohawk”. Mohawk was all white with a black stripe on his head, hence the name. He had beautiful green eyes that looked like emeralds.
Mohawk in 1992
Lynn really liked Mohawk, but the two other cats in the house did not. Plus, there were two dogs in the family, including one that resembled a small horse. So Lynn thought that Mohawk would be better off in an environment where he could be the center of attention.
Enter yours truly.
David and I drove over to Lynn’s on a cold Friday evening in January (Friday, January 11, 1991). I had told David that I just wanted to meet Mohawk to see if he liked me. To see if we would be compatible.
Apparently, Lynn had other ideas.
Lynn had gathered up a few of Mohawk’s favorite things – a pink towel, a tiny white teddy bear – and put them into a cardboard box that had once contained a toaster oven. Lynn already had cut holes in the box.
Hmmm … seems like Lynn’s mind was made up.
I thought Mohawk was a real sweetie, but I did not have anything at my apartment for a kitten – no food, no food dish, no toys, and no litter box. I felt so unprepared to take him home that night.
After a pleasant visit with Lynn, David and I got ready to leave. Mohawk had vanished behind the Christmas tree, and would not come out. So I suggested to Lynn that we come back another time (also to give me time to acquire the essentials). In reply, Lynn grabbed a box of dry cat food, rattled it, and Mohawk flew out from behind the Christmas tree. Lynn scooped Mohawk up, and handed him to me.
In parting, Lynn said, almost as an afterthought, “Oh, and by the way, Mohawk likes bread.” I figured that meant I could give him some bread as a treat.
When David, Mohawk, and I got into David’s car outside, David turned to me and hissed,
“Are you crazy?! You don’t have time to train a cat!!”
I looked at David like he was nuts. “Train a cat? What are you talking about?”
“You know, paper train them to, you know…”
I realized then that David had no clue about raising a cat. As a kid, David’s family always had a dog, but never a cat. And my family had never had dogs, only cats. Vaguely I remembered a friend from high school who had had a puppy. Something about lots of newspapers and accidents.
I started to laugh. “You don’t NEED to train a cat! The momma cat takes care of all of that!”
David did not press the issue further, and let it drop. But I could tell that he did not believe me.
We stopped at a grocery store on the way back to my apartment in the Little Italy neighborhood of Cleveland. David and Mohawk sat in the car and had some male bonding time while I ran in and purchased the bare essentials: food and water bowls, food, litter pan, litter, and a few toys.
When we got to my apartment, I immediately set up the litter box in the middle of the kitchen floor and added the litter. I wasn’t planning on keeping it there, but needed to set it up quickly just in case someone needed to use it ASAP.
As if on cue, Mohawk daintily climbed into the litter box, did his thing, covered it, and stepped out with a flourish. He all but blew on his knuckles and rubbed his chest, as if to sneer at Doubting David.
David was flabbergasted. So began David’s affection for Mohawk.
David and Mohawk in 1991
I could tell then that Mohawk and I were going to have a beautiful friendship. “Mo” and I shared a very special bond, one that is hard to describe in words unless you have had a similar close relationship with a non-human friend. Mo seemed to really understand me.
Mohawk and Me – 1993
Mohawk, in physical form, was in our lives for exactly 11 years. He has resided at the Rainbow Bridge since Friday, January 11, 2002. After several months of fighting cancer that had spread to his lungs, Mohawk passed away at home, on the anniversary of the day he came into our lives.
Keeping Mohawk comfortable in his last days.
January 9, 2002
So today, January 11, is a melancholy anniversary. It is both the day we adopted Mohawk (or more accurately, the day Mohawk adopted us), as well as the day Mohawk left us to go to the Rainbow Bridge. Mohawk will always be with us in spirit. In fact, we named one of the bedrooms in our house “The Mohawk Shrine”, which is where my computer is and where The Furry Bambinos make most of their blog posts.
Mohawk in Sink in Little Italy Apartment – 1991
Mohawk was a very special cat and our first “Furry Bambino”. Perhaps in the future, Padre, Panda Bear, and Meerkat will let me post some more stories about Mohawk, as well as stories about his adopted brother Clyde. While today marks both the beginning and end of our time with Mohawk, we enjoyed 11 happy years together and still get misty-eyed thinking about him … especially on January 11th.
Mohawk and Clyde – 1995